Ramayana and Mahabharata

Two great epics are the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The Ramayana of Valmiki is the original Ramayana. It is called Adikavya and Maharishi Valmiki is known as Adi Kavi. The Ramayana presents a picture of an ideal society.

The other epic, the Mahabharata, was written by Ved Vyas. Originally, it was written in Sanskrit and contained 8800 verses and was called Jaya or the collection dealing with victory. These were raised to 24,000 and came to be known as Bharata, named after one of the earliest Vedic tribes. The final compilation brought the verses to 100,000, which came to be known as the Mahabharata or the Satasahasri Samhita.

It contains narrative, descriptive and didactic material, relating to conflict between the Kauravas and the Pandavas. The Mahabharata contains the Bhagavad Gita which contains the essence of divine wisdom and is truly a universal gospel.

In the Bhagvad Gita, Krishna explains to Arjuna his duties as a warrior and prince and elaborates on different Vedantic philosophies with examples and analogies. This makes Gita a concise guide to Hindu philosophy and a parochial, self-contained guide to life.